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548640866fA pear seed grows up into a pear tree,
a nut seed grows up into a nut tree–
but a seed of God grows into God, to God.
~ Meister Eckhart

Lent is an invitation to reflect on our faith experience, a time to delve more deeply into the spiritual meaning of our lives. We study the life and ministry of Jesus for clues about the will of God and the work of the Spirit in the world. We seek fresh insight into the basic patterns of the Christian life – prayer, worship, reading Scripture, and giving our selves as servants of Christ.

During this 40-day period, we begin with ashes and commit to a discipline that we believe will ultimately be resurrecting! It may involve fasting from certain foods or activities. But it will certainly involve feasting as we gather on the Sabbath and receive the bread and cup of communion with Christ as nourishment for this spiritual journey.

We have an opportunity in these forty days to renew the commitment of our way to Christ. This is our chance to put our faith into practice in new ways. This is a time set aside for us to “grow into God, to God.”

A short piece from the curriculum The Whole People of God provides an opening for us to choose how we will use this holy season. We are invited to…

Fast from pessimism, and feast on optimism.

Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.

Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.

Fast from bitterness, and feast on forgiveness.

Fast from idle gossip, and feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.

Fast from discouragement, and feast on appreciation.

Fast from complaining, and feast on hope.

Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.

Fast from fear, and feast on faith.

Fast from anger, and feast on patience.

Fast from self-concern, and feast on compassion for others.

Fast from discontent, and feast on gratitude.

Fasting and feasting – not just for the experience, but for the same reasons Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit following his baptism by John. Jesus was preparing for the saving mission of a loving God – the mission of restoring creation, the human family, the sick, the lonely and isolated, the marginalized and vulnerable, back into the truth of who they are, beloved ones made in God’s own image!

Just as Jesus was baptized and given a blessing, and then sent into the wilderness to contemplate that blessing, so it is for us. You and I – Christ’s body on earth – have a mission, to share God’s gracious love and resurrecting hope in every possible way!

The season of Lent calls us to choose: Choose life! Choose grace! Choose compassion! Choose justice! Choose blessing! In the desert experience of Lent, may God grant us to the grace to grow in wisdom and in love. In the wilderness of this holy season, may God lead us along the resurrection road to a place called hope.

What is your commitment this Lent? What do you choose to do or not do as a way to move toward the Center of this human adventure where we meet God?

Words (c) 2013 Mark Lloyd Richardson